Pontificating on a possible pigeon population problem

Monday February 12, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Recently the attention of the House of Ariki has been alerted to the sudden, unusual and rapid decline in the numbers of rupe (pigeon) that used to frequent domesticated palm trees and the predominantly yellow hedges around the island, as well as other known fodders local pigeons feed on.


At the beginning of 2017, the pigeon population seemed to have increased as more and more tended to freely move closer and closer to homes around the coast. Prior, pigeons were basically restricted to the hinterlands, where they were more at ease to live amongst nature.

But the recent turn of events has been observed to have occurred some time in the mid to latter part of 2017 and appears to be more prevalent at present. And the House is curiously asking and wanting to know if there is any reason people in the community may be aware of which may have caused this to happen. Or is nature taking its course?

The House has partnered with a number of agencies and government ministries to address the health of our moana. The land and all invaluable species therein are no different.

The rupe has historical, and in some islands customary, significances. This beautiful bird that is causing no known harm to our people needs our help for survival.

The sustainability of our ecosystem and our environment is critical to the present and future enjoyment of our children. And the House is appealing to the experts and the general community to lend a hand in addressing this matter should there be known issues to our people about the demise of the pigeon.

At present this is another of several matters which the House is continuing to observe while it assesses its options.

            Tupuna Rakanui

            Clerk of the House of Ariki

1 comment

  • Comment Link David Hawkins Friday, 16 February 2018 11:11 posted by David Hawkins

    The demise of wild bird populations in areas close to human habitation the world over can be put down to among other reasons. Habitat loss, destroying natural food sources and nesting sites, domestic, feral cat and rat predation and of course the shooting of birds for the pot.

    On my last extremely enjoyable visit to the island, I was fortunate to see one of these beautiful birds.
    The fauna, flora and marine biodiversity are priceless assets of the Cook Islands, they need to be nurtured to their full potential and guarded like gold.

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